Associations of thalamocortical networks with reduced mindfulness in alcohol use disorder.

Denier, Niklaus; Soravia, Leila; Moggi, Franz; Stein, Maria; Grieder, Matthias; Federspiel, Andrea; Kupper, Zeno; Wiest, Roland; Bracht, Tobias (2023). Associations of thalamocortical networks with reduced mindfulness in alcohol use disorder. Frontiers in psychiatry, 14(1123204), p. 1123204. Frontiers 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1123204

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Increased mindfulness is associated with reduced alcohol consumption in patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) after residential treatment. However, the underlying neurobiological mechanism of mindfulness in AUD is unclear. Therefore, we investigate the structural and functional alterations of the thalamocortical system with a focus on the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus (MD-TN), the default mode and the salience network (DMN/SN) which has previously been associated with mindfulness in healthy subjects. We hypothesized lower mindfulness and reduced structural and functional connectivity (FC) of the thalamocortical system, particularly in the DMN/SN in AUD. We assumed that identified neurobiological alterations in AUD are associated with impairments of mindfulness.


Forty-five abstinent patients with AUD during residential treatment and 20 healthy controls (HC) were recruited. Structural and resting-state functional MRI-scans were acquired. We analysed levels of mindfulness, thalamic volumes and network centrality degree of the MD-TN using multivariate statistics. Using seed-based whole brain analyses we investigated functional connectivity (FC) of the MD-TN. We performed exploratory correlational analyses of structural and functional DMN/SN measurements with levels of mindfulness.


In AUD we found significantly lower levels of mindfulness, lower bilateral thalamic and left MD-TN volumes, reduced FC between MD-TN and anterior cingulum/insula and lower network centrality degree of the left MD-TN as compared to HC. In AUD, lower mindfulness was associated with various reductions of structural and functional aspects of the MD-TN.


Our results suggest that structural and functional alterations of a network including the MD-TN and the DMN/SN underlies disturbed mindfulness in AUD.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Denier, Niklaus, Soravia, Leila, Moggi, Franz (A), Stein, Maria, Grieder, Matthias, Federspiel, Andrea, Kupper, Zeno, Wiest, Roland Gerhard Rudi, Bracht, Tobias


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

24 Jul 2023 15:39

Last Modified:

20 Aug 2023 02:36

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

alcohol use disorder default mode network magnetic resonance imaging mindfulness salience network thalamus




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